Choice Deserts: How Geography Limits the Potential Impact of Earnings Data on Higher Education

Research Report

Choice Deserts: How Geography Limits the Potential Impact of Earnings Data on Higher Education

December 13, 2016

Abstract

There is a bipartisan consensus among policymakers that prospective college students need access to better information on potential earnings outcomes when deciding where to attend college and what degree program to pursue. However, there’s little empirical evidence on the potential effects of providing this kind of information. Students’ college choices are constrained by their academic ability and geographic location, as well as by their personal career interests. Our analysis of data from Virginia indicates that only about a third of high school seniors can use earnings data to make a meaningful distinction between programs of study at two or more institutions.

Research Area: 

Cross-Center Initiative

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